Tag Archives: James Norton

Grantchester Character Review: Amanda Kendall

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series GrantchesterRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In an ideal world, we would not have to choose between our heads and our hearts. But we don’t live in an ideal world. The decision between our heart and our heads is sometimes the only choice, as difficult as it maybe. On Grantchester, Amanda Kendall (Morven Christie) is best friends with Sidney Chambers (James Norton). They seem like the perfect couple. But perfect is not always meant to be.

Amanda is an heiress who works at the National Gallery in London. Marriage to a small town curate is not exactly what her family envisioned for her. Though she married Guy Hopkins (Tom Austen), their marriage is not always sunshine and roses. When her marriage is on the brink of dying, Amanda is pregnant and leaves her husband. Running to the vicarage and to Sidney, they begin a will they or won’t they relationship in spite of the fact that she is still married. After her daughter is born, their relationship becomes even more complicated with Amanda wanted to divorce Guy.

But Amanda has to make a choice, as does Sidney. They can formalize their relationship, knowing the scandal it will create. Or they can go their separate ways, knowing how painful it will be.

To sum it up: the choice between one’s head and one’s heart is both difficult and life changing. The person forced to make the choice knows what lies in front of them. But it must be done, regardless of the cost of that decision.

That is why Amanda Kendall is a memorable character.

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Grantchester Character Review: Mrs. Chapman

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series GrantchesterRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

There is a perception that as one gets older, they become more conservative. They cling to the values of the past and seem unable to accept that some things have changed. On Grantchester, Mrs. Chapman (formerly Mrs. Maguire, played by Tessa Peake-Jones) is that character. Working initially as the housekeeper for Sidney Chambers (James Norton) and then for Will Davenport (Tom Brittany), she is loyal, loving and hardworking. But, she can also come off as old fashioned and disapproving of the world around her.

This comes into play in two distinct narratives. The first was when she married again. Her new husband, Jack Chapman (Nick Brimble) is a wealthy man who is happy to spoil his wife. Though she loves her husband, Mrs. Chapman is not used to being spoiled. The second is when she discovers that Leonard Finch (Al Weaver) is gay. It a shock to her and makes her question if her relationship with him can ever be the same.

To sum it up: Though Mrs. Chapman may appear to be the old lady who yells at the neighborhood kids to stay off her lawn, she is much more than that. She has a heart and staunchly believes in what she believes in, even if it conflicts with the changing times.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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Grantchester Character Review: Will Davenport

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series GrantchesterRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

When one beloved character is replaced by a new character, there is often a transition period for both the audience and the existing characters. On Grantchester, when Sidney Chambers (James Norton) left for America, he was replaced by Will Davenport (Tom Brittany). If Sidney rocked the boat only slightly, Will rocks the boat without question.

Will rides a motorcycle, listens to rock and roll and does not have the same demons from the war that Sidney does. He is modern in his sensibilities, which does not sit well with some of his superiors and the more traditional members of his parish.

Though he seems carefree, Will is not without problems of his own. Born into a wealthy family, his father Thomas (Nathaniel Parker) does not agree with his son’s choice of profession. Caught between his opinionated father and loving mother Amelia (Jemma Redgrave), Will must navigate complicated family politics.

To sum it up: It has been said that first impressions are lasting, but they don’t always reveal the truth about the person. Though Will appears to be the typical 1950’s rebel, he is eventually revealed to be much more than that. When his past and his issues are revealed, Will becomes a more complex and human character.

Which is why he is memorable to watch.

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Grantchester Character Review: Geordie Keating

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series GrantchesterRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Grantchester to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

In the world of TV detectives, there is a certain perception of the character. He or she is hard bitten by life, excels at their jobs, but personal issues sometimes get in the way. Detective Geordie Keating (Robson Green) has seen it all. A veteran of World War II, he has seen the darker side of humanity from his time during the war and his job as a police detective. Married to Cathy (Kacey Ainsworth), they have four children and a very busy life.

The ying to Sidney Chamber’s (James Norton) yang, Geordie understands the criminal mind and is sometimes willing to break the rules to bring them to justice. This naturally creates tension with Sidney who is more intuitive in his methodologies than his partner. But, they balance each out in a way that bring out the best in both men.

On the home front, Geordie has another set of challenges. He had a mistress for a while, which obviously did not make for a happy marriage. After he broke it off and finally returned to the arms of his wife, Geordie had to face up to the fact that his eldest daughter, Esme (Skye Lucia Degruttola) was growing into a young woman. Ask any father and they will tell you that it’s not easy to admit that your little girl is growing up.

To sum it up: The character of the hard boiled police detective is one that has been seen many over the years. It is therefore, the job of the writer(s) to ensure that their version of the character is not only flesh and blood, but stands out from the pack.

Geordie Keating stands out because even though he is a hard boiled TV detective, he is so much more than that. He is thoroughly human, with flaws and mistakes. But he also knows when to make amends and tell those who he loves exactly how he feels.

That is why Geordie Keating is a memorable character.

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Grantchester Character Review: Sidney Chambers

My character review from Roseanne and The Conners has reached its end. Onto the next set of characters.

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series GrantchesterRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Grantchester to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

When it comes to clergy people of any religion, we expect them to act and think in a certain way. We expect them to be buttoned down, conservative and living as close to the tenets of their faith as they can. In Grantchester, Sydney Chambers (James Norton) breaks all of those rules and more.

A World War II veteran and a man of the cloth, Sydney Chambers’s life is more than the Church. Drawn into the world of crime fighting, his ability to read and understand the human condition puts a new spin on his extracurricular activities. Paired with veteran policeman Geordie Keating (Robson Green), Sidney is the ying to Geordie’s yang.

When he is not doing his clerical work or fighting crime, Sidney can be found with a drink in his hand and a jazz record playing in the background. He can also be found with his best friend, Amanda Kendall (Morven Christie). Sidney is in love with Amanda. But according to the rules of 1950’s England, a woman of Amanda’s stature does not marry a clergyman, especially one whose parish is in the country.

Throughout his journey, it is Sidney’s heart that both helps him and gets him in trouble. When a pregnant Amanda walks away from her marriage, she goes to Sidney. The “will they or won’t they” questions hovers above their relationship, but ultimately becomes a won’t they as Sidney chooses the Church over Amanda.

In the end, Sidney’s heart chooses his fate. Falling in love with an African-American woman, he leaves England, his chosen profession and his friends for a new life in the States.

To sum it up: Sidney Chambers is one complicated character. Though he is a man of the cloth, he is far from the stereotype of a clergy person. As an audience member, I personally find the contradictions to be interesting. As a writer, we look for ways to break molds in characters and allow them to stand out.

Sidney Chambers stands out, which is why he is a memorable character.

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Grantchester Series 3/My Mother And Other Strangers Series 1 Review

There is nothing so wonderful (at least from my perspective) as settling down on a Sunday night and knowing that the programming on Masterpiece Theater/Mysteries will help with the realization that the weekend is over.

On Sunday night, not only did the first episode of the third season of Grantchester air, but also a new show premiered, My Mother And Other Strangers.

Grantchester picks up just a few months after series 2 ended. The bromance/murder solving duo of Vicar Sydney Chambers (James Norton) and Inspector Geordie Keating (Robson Green) are back together again. But while Sydney and Geordie deal with the crimes that are happening in and around Grantchester, Sydney has another thing on his plate: his relationship with Amanda Hopkins (Morven Christie). Amanda is heavily pregnant and in the midst of divorcing her husband. While they are happily ensconced in finally being together, the storm of Amanda’s soon to be ended marriage and impending motherhood creates more than one barrier to their own version of happily ever after.

My Mother And Other Strangers takes place in Northern Ireland during World War II. Rose and Michael Coyne (Hattie Morahan and Owen McDonnell) have a full life of kids, work and just being busy. The war has yet to intrude into their world. It comes in the form of American servicemen, Captain Dreyfuss (Aaron Staton) and Lieutenant Barnhill (Corey Cott). Captain Dreyfuss seems to be paying more attention to Rose than her husband while Lieutenant Barnhill is interested in 16-year-old Emma Coyne (Eileen O’Higgins). The story is narrated by an adult Francis (Rose and Michael’s son). Ciaran Hinds tells the story in voice over flashback as an adult while 10-year-old Francis is played by Michael Nevin.

I’ve enjoyed Grantchester since the first season. Cop procedural shows tend to get a little boring when the only thing that the audience sees is inside the squad room or investigating the scene of a crime. Grantchester adds to this bland story by making the characters human and allowing the audience to see the lives and struggles of the characters outside of work. I was attracted to My Mother And Other Strangers because of the cast and how compelling the series seemed based off the trailer. The problem is that it is a little boring and it has yet to completely hook me in.

Do I recommend them? I say yes to Grantchester and maybe to My Mother And Other Strangers.

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Grantchester Review

Sydney Chambers (James Norton) is a most unusual member of the clergy. In Grantchester, Sydney is drawn into a series of murders in his small English town. Pairing with a policeman Geordie Keating (Robson Green), they are the Starsky and Hutch of rural England. Adding to the drama is that Sydney’s go to gal pal, Amanda Kendall (Morven Christie) is engaged. I have a feeling that Sydney’s feelings are more than platonic.

I watched the first episode last night. While it took a little longer than expected to become hooked, by the end of the episode, I can safely say that I enjoyed the episode and I am looking forward to the next one.

I recommend it.

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Death Comes To Pemberley Part I Recap

*-This recap contains spoilers.  If you have yet to read either of the the books or watch the miniseries, read at your own risk.

Jane Austen’s most famous and beloved novel, Pride and Prejudice ends happily ever after. The union of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy, the reader hopes, is to be a long and blessed one.

Last year, author P.D. James took her readers 6 years into the future of this couple. Mingling the characters of Pride and Prejudice with murder mystery, Death Comes To Pemberley asked viewers the following question: Who murdered Captain Denny (Tom Canton)?

Elizabeth (Anna Maxwell Martin) and Fitzwilliam Darcy (Matthew Rhys) are in the midst of wedded bliss. Life at Pemberley has become normal. Their son, also named Fitzwilliam, is a hearty, healthy and energetic boy who wants for nothing. Georgiana (Eleanor Tomlinson) is of an age to marry. The entire household is in a frenzy, as the Lady Anne Ball is approaching.  The last thing they want or need is the accusation murder on Darcy land.

Enter Colonel Fitzwilliam (Tom Ward) and Henry Alveston (James Norton). The Colonel, who is Georgiana’s c0-guardian after the death of her father, has begun to look at his young cousin differently. While the Colonel may see her in a different light, Georgiana seems to have made her choice elsewhere.

Invited to the Lady Anne Ball are Elizabeth’s parent’s, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet (James Fleet and Rebecca Front). For the sake of his wife, Darcy rolls his eyes and deals with in in laws, as many men have and will do. While Mr. Bennet characteristically retreats to his son in law’s library, his wife foolishly chatters on how wonderful Mr. Wickham (Matthew Goode) is , unaware of his true nature and his attempted seduction of Georgiana.

As a the lady of the manor, one of Elizabeth’s duties is to visit those that live and work on the land. Mr. Bidwell (Philip Martin Brown) has been a loyal servant. Elizabeth has become friendly with his wife, Mrs. Bidwell (Jennifer Hennessey), his bed ridden son, Will (Lewis Rainer) and his daughter, Louisa (Nichola Burley). Louisa has just returned from visiting her sister with a child she is caring for that she has claimed is her sister’s. But there is something about the child that does not add up.

In the village near Pemberley, an argument ensues between Captain Denny and Mr. Wickham. It continues in the carriage on the ride to Pemberley. That is, until Captain Denny orders the coachman to stop and runs out in the forest. Wickham goes after him, shots are fired and Lydia’s (Jenna Coleman) screams are heard as the carriage stops in front of Pemberley. Captain Denny is found dead and Wickham is suspected of being the murderer.

Strangely, despite their strained relationship, Darcy seems to understand that Wickham is not guilty. He remembers a boy who was hanged for poaching and how they witnessed it, despite being told to stay away. Add in the mystery of a spirit haunting the woods and an unknown woman with whom Colonel Fitzwilliam was seen in conversation with about a subject that is yet to be revealed.

I read the book and saw the miniseries when it was online briefly last year. I won’t reveal anything else, but I will let you, gentle reader learn the truth on Sunday.

 

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Filed under Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Television, TV Recap